I loved my homebirth with DD. But like everything, there were snags. For me, I wish I had known:
1. To get the liner in the birth pool right so that I didn't have to spend 1 hr of hard labor out of the tub and alone while it was emptied and refilled. Dumb.
2. To have someone available that 1st night. DD was born around 5 PM. And then she didn't sleep. At all. She had horrid gas. We were exhausted by 1AM and everyone had waited until we were settled and then left. That didn't occur to us for some reason.
3. No sleeping pills for DH in weeks prior to birth. I couldn't wake him up.
4. If you wear glasses and want to see, give them to someone to offer to you. I couldn't see her at the birth and couldn't figure out why.
5. Eat during labor if you want to but eat only what you want. DH took his job to offer me food seriously and gave me a stuffed pepper (a favorite food) to eat in early labor. It didn't seem right but I ate it anyway. It did not taste good coming up in transition. Also, I am pretty sure the garlic in the sauce is why DD wouldn't sleep for a long time after the birth.
6. First babies can come fast. I didn't realize that the annoyingly extreme flexibility in my hips and my SPD combined with the fact that she was deep in my pelvis (0 station) at 38 weeks meant it would not take much to push her out. They were encouraging me to push a little more than I wanted to and she rocketed out and I tore.
7. If you tear, the placenta can definitely hurt.
8. Gazing at your newborn baby in your own bed is the best distraction possible for stitches.
9. You can do it.
Wife to DH, mom to DD1 9/06 and our new arrival DD2 6/11
-I like having visiting hours. Like an hour in the late morning and an hour in the evening. Having an endess parade of people is exhausting to me.
-With my second baby we decied not to call anyone when I went into labor because then people call later for updates, get worried ect.
-My mom brought me a giant basket of fruit after my first was born so I could go potty easier. I will have someone do this again because it does help.
-Don't drain all the hot water taking a shower before you have to fill the birth tub.
Love your neighbor. Say yes to vax.
I had two large, posterior babies and couldn't agree more! I didn't take Bradley classes, but it really pissed me off the Hypnobirthing did the same thing--convinced me that I could "breathe my baby down." No offense to the CBEs who post here, but I'm hoping that there's more reality-grounded childbirth education (or educators) out there.
The thing is, I think people have different experiences. So for some, pushing is a wonderful part. For others, it's not. This is where it would be helpful to have a more rounded perspective.
I am one of the ones that LOVES the pushing part. I didn't breath the baby down and had to push but I felt that finally I was able to actually do something to make it all be over.
But I was lucky in the fact that it only took 20 min to push out my 1st and was only 1 "real" push with DD.
2. Have food for your midwife! I didn't and still feel terrible about it. I had coffee, lol, but not much food. IIRC she scrounged and found a container of nuts to snack on. Not cool.
3. Have food for YOURSELF. I didn't think I'd want much to eat during labor, and I was right, but not having the option sucked. Fresh cut watermelon or something would have been great. Even broth would have been good. But I didn't have anything.
I totally agree with this. I can't believe in all my planing I didn't think to have something for my MW! And my labor was 24 hours. Poor women. I think this time I am going to put together a sandwich platter, and fruit platter, and have some kind of soup in the crock pot. After our DD was born DH ordered pizza because we had nothing to eat in 24 hours. That was dumb.
NEVER INVITE ALLOW ANYONE AT THE BIRTH WITHOUT THINKING IT THROUGH!
I wish I had known better than to invite my MIL to the birth out of feeling of obligation. She told my dh she never got to be present for any of her daughters births. I knew from my last birth that in the throws of labor, I didn't seem to care who was there or feel any sense of modesty anymore. I didn't know that was because they were strangers of medical profession and I'd never have to see them again. Also, they wouldn't have behaved as my MIL did.
The entire birth she sat there watching with my mother making weird comments such as "I bet they won't be doing this again anytime soon" referring to my obvious pain. Or, "I wonder if they know what causes this?" a comment about that being our 4th child, a comment she made often and with every child after #1. From a woman who had 7 herself!!!!
Luckily, I am one of those who have super intense precipitous labors and my contractions required so much of attention that I couldn't hear a thing that was going on around me. My mother told me later about these comments and said my midwife kept giving her annoyed looks. Glad I didn't hear it but I could have and it could have had a very negative impact on my labor.
Obviously, don't allow anyone who you think could or would be even slightly negative. I knew she was like that but gave her too much credit thinking she knew what tact was and would know when isn't the time or smart comments.
mama to the Brady bunch 3 boys, 3 girls.
DS Jan '02, DD Jan '04, DD Oct '05, DS Spt '07, DS Jan '10, DD Jun '11 Our
Biggest "wish I had known ever" which kind of applies to all births not just home birth.
You never know just what you will or won't want or will or won't feel right during labor (even if you have labored before as each are different) until you are in it so stay open and plan for all options. You may not think you want certain options but may find that in the moment they are total life savers. You may not think you want people there, but find they help out, or vice versa and end up wishing you were alone with just midwife or DH. Just be prepared for all scenarios and work out a plan with DH or whoever is your birth partner so that if you change your mind, they can handle it for you.
No matter what you write out on your birth plan, you may change your mind. Leave it open and allow yourself to change your mind.
mama to the Brady bunch 3 boys, 3 girls.
DS Jan '02, DD Jan '04, DD Oct '05, DS Spt '07, DS Jan '10, DD Jun '11 Our
Something else for all births--pushing can hurt and be normal!
For my first two births, I was sure something was wrong because pushing hurt! It said in all the books that I read that pushing was a relief, or that pushing felt so good, only positive stuff...not so much for me. In fact, not at all.
I knew it was coming with my third, and tried a more passive approach. It still hurt, but I wasn't as panicked that something was wrong. I'm due in a few months again, and doing my best to prepare mentally for pushing again. (I tried making a deal that I would labor and my dh could push, but I'm afraid it's not going to work. )
I see that my "pushing" issue is echoed above.
I also think it's important to figure out what kind of time you want after the baby. Dh and I are kind of opposite in that he wants to take baby out and show them off and I just want to be left in peace with my newborn and close family. We kind of compromise, but a homebirth means that theoretically, you can take the baby out or invite people in whenever. I found it helpful to discuss ahead of time what we wanted so it would happen. And I didn't have to make any phone calls or take any visitors until I felt like it and dh knew that was coming and wasn't surprised by my "asocial" tendencies immediately pp.
Excited about my second HB coming up in a few weeks! Wanted to bump this up in case anyone else is trying to find it.
What I wish I would have known is that a first birth can take FOREVER. And it is fine! My first labor was 43 hours. (with 25 hours of hard, active labor, and 2 hours of pushing). Everything turned out fine, and my DD was perfect, but I was freaking a little that it was taking so long. (I am praying and hoping this birth is a little shorter...lol)
I wish I would have had someone video it. I didn't think I wanted it, but afterwards, I wish I would have! I would have loved to see it from a different viewpoint.
I also wish I would have had either a professional photographer or someone there whose job was to specifically take pictures. I only had a couple of me laboring.
And lastly, I wish someone would have made wear the sports bra I bought for the water birth! I have a lot of pics I can't show anyone bc my huge boobs are just hanging out, right next to the baby...lol.
Katie-Christian wife to Nick - Mom to Ellie(5/10) and Zeke (4/12)
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This is great. My baby is due in June and s/he will be my first so I don't have much advice. I also haven't read the entire thread yet, but I've heard that filling condoms with water and freezing them is good to put on the vagina after birth.
Wife to DH (PhD candidate at U of T) who also . We conceived baby #1 in September . We plan to and possibly
Ohhh I have my own to add. Now I don't know how true this is and it's not even necessarily JUST for home birth but you know how we ladies sync up? Apparently if another woman in the house has her period it may affect labor starting. Again not sure how true this is but on a scientific view it's awesome to think about! (And certainly something I wish I knew before my mom in law and sis in law flew in....)
Also, not having cervical checks was HuGE. No numbers to compare your progress to, no pressure. I didn't know I was fully dilated until my body started involuntarily pushing.
This will sound funny, but I can't think of a single thing I wished I had known, beforehand.
I knew I don't like people around, so it was just DH, the kids (and DH to keep them out of my hair if needed) and the midwife, and no visitors til like a week after, and then, only my mother, and only briefly, because her idea of helping gets on my nerves.
I knew I wanted a labor pool and was really glad to have one. One homebirth, I crawled out of it and went upstairs pushing, to birth at the foot of my bed. The other one, I birthed right in the pool. One never knows what one will want in the moment.
I didn't have expectations one way or another about perineal tears, and I tore both times requiring stitches. It was more like the top layer of skin, from vagina to rectum, "popped" open in a line, than what you would think of as "tearing". My skin is not elastic, I get stretch marks easily, and I don't think the tears could have been prevented. I expect it will happen again this time. My babies were 10 lbs, and then 9 lbs. It's not pleasant, but it's not terrible. Better than an episiotomy! It healed each time, and I'm fine down there.
I had heard of self-stim to help get through crowning, and the second homebirth, I tried it...reached down and "touched myself" and you know what? It DID help! So I might keep that in the toolbox along with having placenta available for consumption (really saved me with hormone mood swings the first homebirth...oddly enough, ended up not needing it, the second one... again, one doesn't know one time to the next, so it's best to have the option regardless).
None of these things are things I wished I had known beforehand, because they are things I heard about beforehand, and was glad to be able to use, or they were things that couldn't be prevented, so weren't some great disappointment when they happened.
It helped me a LOT to be able to compare the pain of transition, to the pain of my first child's failed Pit induction ending in cesarean. That Pit induction only got to 4 cm, and was far more painful and horrible than anything the natural births at home afterward, with larger babies, presented, and with my first HBAC, the 10 lb one, in transition I did say almost as if it were a required ritual, "I can't do this!" but always in my mind, a little awareness kept nudging me, that this STILL was better than going through that induction and cesarean had been!
So I had a sort of benchmark to compare against, and it gave me courage that I COULD endure it, because at every stage of natural labor, I could remember that I had been through worse with the hospital scenario, so this wasn't so bad!
Older Homeschooling mom with 4 kids, born cesarean, HBAC, HWBAC, and unmedicated VBAC in hospital after age 40.
Oh my goodness, what a wealth of information! Whether I end up having a UC or not (due date's in a week!) I'll be at least laboring at home for as long as possible, so this is good stuff to know. I hadn't thought of keeping snacks/sandwich stuff on hand for any helpers, very glad to be able to remedy that before it became embarassingly obvious that I'd neglected them while they were trying to help me. =P
Also having a jobs sheet would be very handy, I'll make one of those too.
It sounds like the biggest and most common piece of advice is simply "follow your instincts!!" Whether you want a certain food or drink, or want to get more comfortable, or want your MIL to leave you alone, whatever...just do what feels right at the time. I hope I'm able to do that when it's crunch time. =)
One thing I learned is that everyone sooo different. I read some of these and was like there is no way I would want or like that!
Also, as stated by others.....each delivery can (and many times is) different......even within the same woman! My first my contractions were surprisingly easy, but pushing was terrible! My second contrax were terrible but pushing was such a relief! (with him I had waited until my body pushed him out without me even having to do much at all). With my third, honestly it all sucked. With my fourth it was very hard to push her out (cord was wrapped behind her neck and leg). With my 5th contrax were not horrible...actually was about to fall asleep through much of labor (in retrospect, I am not sure why I didn't....guess I figured I could speed things up if actively trying.)
I am one that doesn't want anyone but my hubby around during birth (and that is only if I need him.....most of the time I prefer to be alone, so I can focus and not feel like I have an audience). My last birth was the only hb I had my dh there actually while the baby was born. Normally I tell him to take care of the kids and just be within yelling distance. But with my last, after I told him I needed him, he was a huge support. Even at birth number 5 that was a huge shock for him.....so that goes back to the every birth is different.
I do agree that ONLY have people there that are 100% on board with the idea of a hb. With my first hb, my mother was so freaked out that her attitude was bothering me. So when I could feel the baby crowning, I told her to go get dh and the kids from outside and I conveniently pushed the baby out while she was getting them. Dh and her came back into me holding the baby.
My second hb, she had just started a new job and I decided to use that as an excuse not to call her until after the baby was born. She was so mad, but honestly I was glad she wasn't there. She came by later and helped clean up, which was a huge help...but I don't prefer to have her there during the birth.
With my next hb, I didn't have any "excuse" not to have her there.....so she came. She was fine most of it outside of the annoying questions she would occasionally ask. But I still felt I couldn't really birth with her there. As an answer to prayer, she said she was going to run to the store. I was thrilled. That is when I asked for dh's help, and with Gods help we got it done. She walked in a few minutes after baby was born. She wasn't pleased, but at least it looked like "her" fault and not mine this time. Although the first 10 mins after birth I wish she wasn't there. Baby wasn't perky and she was freaking out and called my dad and said the baby isn't breathing! I just wanted to tell her to shut up, he is fine. Who knows how much mass panic she caused! But I will say she is the BEST at cleaning up after wards and with helping with the kids and providing food and even cleaning the house before hand......but I don't prefer her there during birth. This time she has started yet another new job, so I think I will do the same thing I did before. Although the issue now is that her job is like 5 mins from my house (as in she has to actually drive by my house!)......so not sure how that is going to work. I am just praying for a super quick delivery, and then it wont look like I intentionally didn't invite her! My mom is my best friend and I love her dearly...we have a GREAT relationship...but she is probably the biggest worrier I know! So not the type of person I want at my birth! Most people that have asked to attend my births, I can easily say....thanks but I don't want a lot of people there....but it has been harder to say that with my mom.
As for food for helpers....I kind of stand on the opposite side of the line. Having been a helper at a birth, I didn't expect ANYTHING from the mother. I brought my own snacks and drinks.....and to me it is rude to expect it. Not that I have a huge amount of people at my house, but I definitely don't waste my time thinking about feeding them. Now if I have the time prior to labor...then maybe.....but honestly, call me rude if you want....but there is a taco bell, Mc Donalds, and Pizza Hut 3 mins from my house ;P
But for you nice ladies that are concerned about that, u are nicer than me =S But then again, it is mainly just my mom, hubby and kids.....and hubby can take care of himself and the kids ....and my mom can fend for herself! I am giving birth, not hosting a party! Although, if I am PAYING a midwife or doula...then I definitely shouldn't have to provide food during my time of stress! This shouldn't be their first rodeo, they should be able to provide for themselves....especially if picky eaters. I cant imagine expecting my friend to feed me when I attended her birth!
As for visitors afterbirth- I don't mind visitors (such as close family) within the first 24 hours....providing all of the yucky stuff is cleaned up. Although my family is not big on bombarding....so they typically don't come unless I invite them. After my first hb, I had a big family bbq within hours of birth!...but after some births, I just want to rest. I don't however want friends dropping by and expecting to visit...most of them know better and only come to drop by food, which in most cases, they are not even allowed inside.
I am for not taking pics of birth. I have pics right after birth and that is fine with me. I really think for me, if I knew how I looked during labor, I wouldn't let anyone in! lol I think I would feel embarrassed that people saw me in that state. But to each their own.
Also, if your husband is like mine and lets pics that he has stored on his computer rotate as his screen saver....make sure your after birth (or birth) pics are not floating around for EVERYONE to see! Same to be said for your mother or anyone else who took pics...thanks to that, many friends and family have seen pics, that I would have preferred them not see and pics they didn't want to see!
I personally wasn't hungry during labor but was after...so have food available afterwards. I actually didn't mind using a water bottle or cup....it gave me something to focus on doing.
I didn't hear anyone mention having dermaplast on hand for the first week or so after the baby is born. I know it is not the most natural of things, but after using the peri bottle when I go potty, I like to put it on for a numbing and healing agent.
I personally just drink water, but I really like juice, so I will give that a try next time around. Here is a little trick to have super cold juice,that is not watered down by ice. Ahead of time, freeze your beverage of choice in ice cube trays....so that it can be used for ice in the drink. When it melts it just adds more of the drink and doesn't water down your beverage. Or if u are like me and like to mix juice, put one juice in your cup with a complimentary juice ice cube for a nice mixed drink. =)
Also, I like the popcicle idea......although to make it have more nutritional value than just juice...you could puree up some fruit of your choice and perhaps even add some yogurt (maybe even granola for a parfait) and freeze it.
Candles and music for a nice setting...and make sure your dh knows what music that is. With my second hb, he graciously put on the music that he figured I would like......but it wasn't what I wanted.....I think I hurt his feelings when I demanded MY music. He then went into the next room to listen to his music...but I could still hear...so I made him shut his off. lol. Call me selfish if you want...but to me when giving birth it should be all about the mom and her desires.
The thing I learned on here that I plan to use this next time, is putting a yoga matt under the pool for extra cushion. And I plan to have a stool in the birth pool to give me more options. With my second I really liked that position.
Last edited by BlessedOne; 06-18-2014 at 03:09 PM.
With my second, I had similar early tests and pre-birth tests but didn't end up feeling like an ultrasound was warranted so I skipped that.
My births were in different states but with both the MW as able to order all tests.
One thing that I would advise is that you ask your MW where she stands on testing. Ask her if she expects you to be on top of which tests you may want and if you need to inquire about those. I think it's a lot of information for a client to keep track of and think a MW should be upfront about how much autonomy is expected vs. how much guidance is provided.
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If there is something my HBMW cannot do she refers me out to someone who can. for my first birth I had to have an u/s when I was overdue and I had a great experience at the place she referred me to! This is the kind of stuff you would bring up with your potential MW during the interview process.
AFM and my two cents I also echo that every woman, pregnancy and labor is different.
The only thing I wish I had known is how important "pain management" practices are during birth. I didn't really prepare at all and at first I panicked. my MW and her assistant were very helpful when they came along 5 hours into my 11.5hr labor but if I had started in with calming techniques from the beginning I would have felt better the whole time. I am reading Birthing From Within this time and practicing the relaxation techniques in there. My only choice for pain management the first time was the swimming pool DH and I bought to use as a birthing pool and despite the many layers of yoga blankets we put under it to make it soft on the bottom I couldn't get comfy. I had bad carpal tunnel and back labor so I only felt comfy sitting on the toilet and only felt comfy on all fours on the bed.
For my upcoming birth in August I plan to make about six weeks worth of frozen dinners instead of four though four was fine. I also do not plan to have a pool but to use my tub and shower and birth out of the water (Flouride and other stuff in the city water freaks me out anyways which I didn't realize until after my first birth). I plan to have a labor project to do in the beginning of labor or to try to sleep instead of last time I tried to watch a movie and play solitaire too excited to sleep. I will also brew comfrey tea in addition to the frozen comfrey maxis I made last time. I also made this witch hazel/aloe/lavender spray last time that gave me a uti b/c I didn't keep it refrigerated. I might do it again and keep it in the fridge this time. Last time I had two bottles of prune juice and I ended up buying three more. I don't want to feel my doo-doo coming out for a long time! I will make sure to have all I need for placenta smoothies stocked up in the fridge. last time I didn't and couldn't get my first smoothie until day three.
I will make sure to wake the new baby up and nurse more often than I did for DD. She lost about a lb and had boarderline jaundice bc I let her sleep when she wanted. I wish I had bought paper plates and biodegradable disposable forks from the natural foods market instead of worrying about dishes!!!!!
Most importantly I'm not going to expect too much out of my birth team. They all did a fine job in retrospect but at the time I wanted DH the MW and the asst. MW to be super heros and they weren't, they were people. It was such an effort to talk during labor and I was so depressed that DH and the rest couldn't just read my mind. This time I am preparing myself that I have to and need to go at it alone. No one can labor for me!
Also, I plan to come back to this thread and update how it went/what I wish I would have known for HB #2 in September!
What I am glad I knew about before hand is how to make the bed for labor (clean sheets, plastic drop cloth from walmart, old sheets), freezer meals, did not call anyone about labor until after baby was earthside and we had all napped, frozen comfrey pads, delayed cord cutting, weighed feedings at a local LBCLC group can help decide on whether to wait and see on a tongue/lip tie, you don't have to have pictures of the birth and delivery but to have a robe on hand for pics right after, and that if I really want to do cloth diapers not to listen to the naysayers!!!
Edited down to just include necessary info.
Last edited by sidrajedi; 05-26-2015 at 07:39 PM.
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